Boy, 3, has alternate months in Dubai

Caroline Overington; 18/9/09

A three-year-old boy has been living one month in Dubai, one month in Sydney and back again, in a roundabout arrangement because his parents cannot come to an agreement on custody. The Family Court admits the deal is far from ideal – the flying time is 15 hours, and the child has been making the trip monthly since December – but neither parent has been willing to concede in the long, legal battle over their son. The matter has been before the courts four times. At the most recent hearing on September 1, the mother, who is based in Dubai, complained that “the child is finding the travel between two countries stressful”. Family Court judge Michelle May said this was “unsurprising” but allowed the arrangement to continue, while yet another appeal is heard. The case is one of the most extreme examples of “shared parenting” to come before the Family Court since new laws were introduced by the Howard government in 2006.